Jul 23

How to Pack for 2 Weeks to France in a Carry on

When I travel my goal is to be comfortable, dress appropriately, and not look like a slob. I also tend to be a light packer. If it doesn’t fit in my carryon then I don’t want to bring it. When I posted on Instagram that I packed for a 2 week trip to France (and a sidetrip to Morocco) with just a carryon I had several people ask me to do a post on it. Our trip was mostly touring cities so there wasn’t a lot of swimsuit time. Obviously if your trip was different (like in the winter or to a beach) you’d pack accordingly. I’ve tried to put notes next to each item on what I used it for so you could decide if you needed it or not. For example if you weren’t planning on working on your trip you might not bring a laptop. I packed to do a small load of laundry with socks and underwear halfway through my trip. But as long as I didn’t spill food on myself at mealtimes my clothes stayed pretty clean. All of the clothing and toiletries fit into one carryon bag and the electronics and travel documents and even the polka dot purse all fit into the leather tote. So when I was all packed up I only had two bags. (More photos below the jump.)

How to Pack for a 2 Week Trip to France in a Carryon! | Oh Happy Day!

Click through for sources and samples of outfits…

A. Black Blazer | I wear this in the evening for warmth or to dress up jeans and a tshirt. I used this almost everyday.
B. Cardigan | I would throw this on over a dress if I wanted to be more casual than the blazer.
C. Jacket | This piece is great because it dresses up the whole outfit. Plus the boxy shape and short sleeves are cool.
D-F. 3 White T shirts | I wear these thin white tshirts like crazy to layer or sleep in them.
G. Striped Shirt | I can use this to layer or mix up the white tees.
H. Nice but Comfortable Pants | I wear these a lot to travel in, the key is to find a comfortable pair.
I. Jeans | These are my current favorite pair of high-waisted jeans.
J. Panama Hat | I actually got this in France at a market on my second day there. 8 Euros! I wear hats a lot when I travel because they make up for bad hair.
K. Havaianas | These take up almost no room and are perfect for beachdays or the pool.
L. Swimsuit | I take my classic highwaisted bikini with me everywhere. I got mine in France a few years ago. You don’t want to find out your hotel has a pool and you forgot yours.
MN. O. P. Q. R. S. T. 8 Dresses | I love wearing dresses when I travel. They take up such little room in the suitcase. Most of these are casual but a few I would change into for nice dinners.
U. White Brogues | These are my favorite shoes this summer. They are as comfortable as tennis shoes but look nicer. These are my main day-to-day travel shoes.
V. Nude Brogues | I like bringing an extra pair in case I start getting a blister or just need to mix it up. These pack well.
W. Black Heels | Go with anything and pretty easy to walk in.
X. Neutral Heels | Usually I only bring one pair of heels with me but I knew their would be several fancy dinners so it warranted a second pair.
Y. Pajamas | Part of the trip I shared an apartment with friends so I try to bring legit pajamas so I don’t have to walk around in my skivvies.
Z. Grey Sweatshirt | I bring this on the airplane and bust it out when I’m freezing.
AA. My Favorite Black Stretchpants | These don’t take up much room and it’s nice to have an extra option to sleep in or throw on under a dress if you were cold.
BB. Warm Socks | I always bring a pair of clean warm socks in my bag when I’m on the airplane. It’s so cold!
CC. Large Cosmetics Bag | This should hold all toiletries and makeup (make sure everything is in little travel bottles.) Also, bring Imodium, Tylenol, and bandais always!
DD. Curling Iron | I need some sort of heat to do my hair so I usually commit to one tool to save space. Most hotels have hairdryers anyways. I’ve had enough curling irons that have overheated and died by foreign plugs so I usually just buy one for $15 on my first day there.
EE. 2 Bras
FF. 8 Nylon Footies | I wear these with my brogues everyday. Do laundry once
GG. 7 Pairs Underwear | I bring enough so I only have to do laundry once.
HH. One Carry On Suitcase | Make sure it fits regulation sizes!
II. Leather Tote | This Carries my laptop, all electronics, purse, and any travel documents and ID.
JJ. Laptop | I brought this because it was a working vacation.
KK. iPad Mini | I load this up with tv shows and movies. It barely takes up any room and it’s nice to have something to watch on the plane or train or when you are jetlagged at 3am.
LL. Medium Sized Lightweight Purse | This is the perfect travel purse. It fits my phone, camera, wallet and still has room. Plus it’s very lightweight so you aren’t lugging around a heavy purse. You don’t want something too small or too big. This is perfect.
MM. Lightweight Camera | I bought this on recommendation from a friend. We have a professional heavy camera but for traveling it’s just not worth it. This takes photos nice enough I could use for work but the camera is super light. Great for traveling.
NN. Phone | Get an international data plan. Or if your phone is unlocked (mine is) buy a new sim card when you arrive. I used my phone like normal and it was 40 Euros. So helpful for research or when you are lost. I used to stress about not using data but I finally realized to just budget in the costs. I also keep all my travel information on the app Tripit. It’s free and keeps everything all in one place.
OO. Wallet | Self explanatory!  I also keep a little plastic folder with train tickets or itinerary.

How to Pack for a 2 Week Trip to France in a Carryon! | Oh Happy Day!How to Pack for a 2 Week Trip to France in a Carryon! | Oh Happy Day!


  • Bravo! I love posts like these… inspires me to rid myself of my over-packing habits. And I feel like this more minimal approach can carry over to one’s day-to-day wardrobe as well! Thanks for sharing. xx

  • Christine says:

    I love packing light too! I always pack in neutral color so I can mix and match everything with each other. ;)

  • Anna says:

    Thankyou so much, i’m traveling to Australia soon & this has been a great help.

  • christina says:

    Jordan! This is so helpful! I’m going on a Europe backpacking trip next spring & this is a great reference! Definitely pinning! Thank you!

    – Christina http://www.cityloveee.blogspot.com

  • Katie says:

    So impressive! And sorry if I missed this, but do you roll all of your clothes?

  • beli says:

    This could not have been posted at a better time. I will be going away to Paris and Italy in about a month and half and the thought of packing can be so stressful to me. I tend to overpack in my travels. This is amazing and I will take note of this and enforce it. Perhaps with 2 skirts a few tanks and 4 dresses instead of 6. But this is so helpful thank you, thank you, thank you! ps this will be my first time in Paris so I will read your recommendations as well. :)

  • Kay says:

    One other travel tip that i love: pack old underwear that you are about to replace, and just throw them away as use them!

  • Bianca says:

    Thanks for these tips! Always end up packing way too much!

    Would love to hear about where you stayed in Morocco. That Airbnb looked perfect!

  • Jessica says:

    Ahhh such a great post! I love how all the items were laid out in pictures! And I really, really like your selection of shoes.


  • Emily says:

    You are adorable! Thank you for sharing this. I’m a chronic over-packer, and this is inspiring. The photos are great. Please excuse me as I overhaul my entire wardrobe.

  • This is such a great list! I LOVE your style and this is the perfect amount of clothing for a carry-on. I recently went on a trip to France, too! Hope you had a wonderful trip :)

  • Archana says:

    I am heading out Europe in a week. My list looks like too under-packed compared to this. I am a tad surprised.

  • Cheryl says:

    Oh My Goodness! The timing of this post couldn’t be more perfect for me, as I’m planning my first 10 day trip to France leaving next week! The only question I have is… where are all your scarves? I heard when traveling to France scarves are imperative!! ;-)

  • theresaflynn says:

    Seriously…only 7 pairs of panties…that is gross…You need to change them everyday!

  • MK says:

    MANY THANK YOUS for this! I’ve been scrolling back to that instagram photo a ton, as I’m planning my packing-strategy for 2 weeks in Italy this September. One question: is it tricky to deal with your panama hat? I can’t imagine folding mine down, but I super want to bring it to Italy.

  • Well-done! It looks like way more than I expected to see!!!

  • Lena says:

    Thank you so much for the tips! Love this post!

  • This packing guide is PERFECT. I’m in Paris at the moment and seriously wish I would have had this beforehand. Love that you used dresses primarily. It’s so simple to just throw on one item and also look incredibly chic and put together.

  • I’m off to France in three weeks and have been struggling with what to pack! This is perfect. Thank you! Laura Gingerich of Roam + Golightly pointed me your way. And, I’m pumped she did!

  • Looks so practical-dress are a huge plus-I hadn’t thought of that!

  • Very helpful post. Totally stylish but still comfy, that’s the trick. I’m wondering if the oxfords are really comfortable for hours of walking?

  • Linda says:

    Wow! Thank you! I am an awful packer. This helps me a lot! Can’t wait to pack for my next trip!

  • Olivia says:

    Thank you! I was just about to leave for Korea for 2 weeks and had no idea how much or what to pack. I’ll try to document what I did the same way for future use. Great idea!

  • Nicole says:

    Thanks for the tips. Planning a trip to Paris in September! I just started to notice that you never use commas. I am assuming this is intentional. Why? If I may ask. Love your work.

  • Willa says:

    I’ve been reading your blog for quite a long time now and I gotta say I have loved watching your style evolve. I feel like you’ve really upped your game in recent years; you look great (and you pick great clothes)!!

  • Grace Ann says:

    Love this post! I just have a quick question regarding your footie socks. Do they stay up on your heels? I have tried this type of sock many times and I end up throwing them out because the back part ends up under my foot constantly! Would love to hear if you have any tips for that. Maybe it is just my feet. :-)

  • kelly rae says:

    lovely post. Although we went to Paris in June and I wish I had brought less clothing. I was so incredibly hot. I adore your dress choices :) Also how did you like Morrocco? We’ve been considering a holiday there.

  • Cindy says:

    Careful, carry-on sizes in Europe have gotten smaller.

  • Corrin says:

    Amazing. Although near impossible when you’re plus size. Le sigh.

  • Jess says:

    This post is so helpful and must have taken forever to put together. Thanks for sharing! I am a serial over-packer so ideas like this are helpful. We’re going to a wedding in Scotland (from Boston) in the fall and I am challenging myself to just a carry-on…wish me luck!

  • Anne says:

    I looooove this post! Now will you tell me where to buy all of your cute clothes?? ;)

  • Rachel says:

    super informative. and can’t wait to use some of these tips when we start traveling. what do you do with all the things you buy there? do they still fit? or do you make sure you have extra space before leaving.

  • Really good tips! I need more dress. Haha


  • Maaike says:

    Wow, you’re a hero… I need that much stuff voor only two nights in a hotel. Biggest problem is the bag with toiletries en make-up. It’s always way too heavy… I seem to pack like my location doesn’t have stores and ambulances en doctors. Well done, I’ll just keep practicing… :)

  • Rachel says:

    I love how much Gorman there is in this one little carry-on!

  • lorena says:

    You are a true queen at packing !
    wow -

  • melissa says:

    I love it all! Now I want to shop. Jordan, can you please tell me the size of the crimson & clover dress from Gorman? I only ask because I am not familiar with the Australian sizes. They only have a size 10 and I typically wear a small or size 4 in a dress. Thoughts?

    Thank you!

  • This is the dopest what-to-pack post!

    We’re heading to Croatia next week and I may not need my husband’s help carrying my luggage. For the first time EVER.

    Hvala, Jordan!

  • Hilary says:

    This is perfection! I travel all the time and am always looking for good ways to reduce what I pack without cramping my personal style. I just recently got a Baggu canvas backpack, and I love it because it’s super lightweight and it can fold up pretty tiny. So for those days when you want to be hands free it’s great! Currently saving up for a great compact Leica because I too struggle with the big camera issue. I would love to see other takes on this challenge from a similar perspective. You see so many on other websites that just look so boring so thanks for the inspiration!


    P.S. I totally went by Gap today and tried on my first pair of Gap denim (I know that sounds funny but I usually just buy Joe’s at resale shops or shop Anthro’s sales) and they fit incredibly! I got a pair of jeans for $5 because they had some killer sale going on.

  • Kai Chan says:

    I think you meant to say 4 pairs of shoes! But this look amazinggg! I always overpack. I think this guide would make a good “rule of thumb” for packing! I love traveling!

  • I love hearing other people’s tips for smart packing. Thanks!

  • Iasmin says:

    Wow. It’s hard to believe you could fit all that in there! You have amazing packing skills. I hope I can master them too, soon. I always take a huge suitcase whenever travelling internationally, and I know it’s bad but I just can’t help it — even if it goes half-empty, with all the shopping I tend to do it returns full so… oops. =D

  • lina says:

    where is the bikini top pictured from, or what brand is it? I need it!

  • What a great guide! I wish I had seen this before going to Europe for 2 weeks – I packed way too much and had to lug it around the cobblestone streets of Paris for hours.

  • Käthe says:

    The shoes in your graphic are mislabeled as dresses. FYI.

  • Athena says:

    Wow! I love how organized and how everything is laid out to view. I don’t think I’ll be going to France anytime soon but I am going for a week to New Orleans so I’ll be pinning this to learn to pack light!

  • Kaiti says:

    I tend to use Excel to organize my packing, and I definitely advocate the use of lists – yours is so pretty!

  • Lindsey says:

    Wow, thanks for taking the time to post all these details. I love posts like this!

  • I’m impressed! But I would never travel back home from France with just a carry-on. How would I bring home fois gras, wine, new shoes, new dresses and new lingerie?

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